First launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, a gigantic new rocket from the private spaceflight company SpaceX, which hopes to use it for missions to the moon, Mars and other deep space ventures. The rocket’s payload is a Tesla Roadster owned by Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of both the automaker and SpaceX. The rocket will launch the car on a course to approach Mars, playing David Bowie’s Space Oddity.
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>>When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)—a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9.
Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.<<